Researchers Find Lost Cities in the Amazon

In the Amazon rainforest, archaeologists have discovered a collection of abandoned settlements. Approximately 2,000 years ago, at least 10,000 farmers called the city home. More than 20 years ago, Stéphen Rostain discovered the underground pathways and clay mounds in Ecuador. However, Rostain admitted that at the time, “I wasn’t sure how it all fit together.” He was one of the scientists who published a report on the results in the journal Science. It was discovered through recent laser mapping that the areas are a part of a cluster of towns with connecting roadways. The communities are situated close to the Andes mountains in forested areas.


In the towns, the Upano people resided from approximately 500 B.C. to 300–600 A.D. The researchers discovered that this corresponded roughly with the Roman Empire’s rule over Europe. Around 6,000 earthen mounds were the site of ancient people’s constructions, which were encircled by fields of crops and drainage systems. The biggest highways stretched between 10 and 20 kilometers and had a width of 10 meters. According to Antoine Dorison, a co-author of the paper, the area was home to at least 10,000 people, and at its peak it may have had as many as 15,000 or 30,000. However, population estimates are difficult to determine. That is similar to the approximate population of London, the largest metropolis in Britain during the Roman era.


Additionally not involved in the study was José Iriarte from the University of Exeter. He claimed that constructing the roadways and thousands of mud mounds would have needed an intricate system of organized labor. According to Iriarte, whereas the Incas and Mayans used stone for their construction, the Amazonian people typically used mud instead of stone. Many people have the impression that the Amazon is an untamed region with few human settlements. However, new findings have revealed just how much more intricate the past actually is,” he continued. Recent research has also revealed evidence of sophisticated rainforest cultures existing outside of the Amazon, in Bolivia and Brazil, that predate European contact.


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